ADVENT, 11

ADVENT

 

11.

     John 6: 16-71

 

So the flesh profiteth nothing, doth it?

And the work of God is belief?

 

They are still in the storm, John Gospeller:

children wizened with hunger,

wrecked by bombs and fires,

blinded with tear-gas,

sickened by water and air.

And you say

God’s work is belief?

 

Oh yes, John, I am

 murmuring against your Jesus.

How dare you condemn the Pharisees?

At least their rules were clear.

ADVENT, 10

ADVENT

 

10.

   ~John 6:1-14

 

Why multiply loaves and fishes if

your Jesus disparages miracle?

 

If he was sent from heaven only

to teach the elect, why make him

 

show off to the crowd?  And

worse—why have him

 

set up these expectations?

Bread does not increase,

 

fishes decrease because

of the hope for miracle

 

that does not come no matter

how hard the believing.

 

And what are we

among so many?

ADVENT, 9

ADVENT

 

9.

       ~John 5

 

Move away from what you know.

Can you?

Bread and wine,

comfortable and magical words,

candles, flowers,

Victorian hymnody,

linens arranged just so.

Just so.

Walk away 

from stained glass,

stone towers, bells.

Stop being helpless.

Today is the holiest of days.

Stir the waters 

in the pool of mercy.

Be a burning light

 

 

 

ADVENT, 5

Advent 

5.

           ~John 3:1-21

You have heard the chant,

answered the call,

drunk the water made wine.

All that was yours has been stripped away.

And now you are in a dark room.

Your feet root in the earth,

water rises up to your neck,

and from somewhere, a wind.

You shiver there, alone. 

And when you think 

you might have died,

a light shines in the darkness—

you are surrounded by lamps,

there is a lamp in your hand,

and the circle presses around you

and you are part of the circle,

robed in white.

And no one outside the circle,

and no one outside the room,

is saved.

 

 

ADVENT, 2

ADVENT

2.

     ~John 1: 19-51

 

Where is what is true?

Visions of ladders and lambs and birds,

voices from the desert and the sky.

This is the Kingdom of Metaphor.

You who have no guile—

come and abide awhile.

 

 

 

I have decided to read the Gospel According to John during Advent. It was my favorite gospel until I was in my late 40s, when I decided that it was anti-Semitic (It is–there’s no way around that) esoteric and exclusive, and that it probably has little to do with the actual life of Jesus of Nazareth (very likely true). I’m trying to read it again for the first time in more than twenty years, this time not as theology–it is the most “theological” gospel–but as poetry, written by a 2nd century poet trying to make sense of what Jesus was all about. Let’s see how long I can keep going. . . .